Funded through the PAsmart workforce development initiative, the grant will support MaST II Community Charter School, serving 500 students in grades K to 5.

HARRISBURG, PA, January 17, 2019 – A grade school in State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione’s Philadelphia district was among 765 schools across Pennsylvania that were awarded a combined $8.7 million in targeted grants today in support of their computer science programs.

PA SmartGov. Tom Wolf announced the grants through the administration’s PAsmart initiative to invest in the commonwealth’s existing and future workforce needs. MaST II Community Charter School, at 6238 Rising Sun Ave. in the city’s Lawncrest section, will use the funding to expand computer science classes and teacher training. MaST II serves 500 students in grades K through 5.

“MaST is a National Blue Ribbon institution that has a strong track record of delivering high-quality, technology-focused education to students from throughout my district and surrounding communities. This funding will further enhance the school’s ability to prepare young people for the jobs of the future,” said Sen. Tartaglione, who serves as minority chairwoman of the Senate Labor & Industry Committee.

Founded in 1999 as Math, Science and Technology Community Charter School, MaST opened the doors on its first campus in the Far Northeast that fall. In 2016, the School District of Philadelphia granted a second charter for MaST II at the site of the former St. William Catholic School.

MaST Charter SchoolConstruction is well underway for a second MaST II campus along the Delaware River in the city’s Tacony section. Plans are for it to open in time for the 2019-20 school year, with the Lawncrest campus continuing as the “lower school” for K to 5 students. MaST officials have asked the school district to permit an additional 650 students to enroll at MaST II.

In recent years, the mission of both MaST schools has expanded to cover all STREAM topics (science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts, and math).

The targeted grants represent a new phase of the governor’s PAsmart initiative, which will provide $20 million to bring high-quality computer science and STEM education in elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as professional development for teachers. With this commitment, Pennsylvania now ranks second in the nation for investments in K-12 STEM and computer science.

Over the next decade, seven in 10 new jobs in Pennsylvania will require workers to use a computer and an estimated 300,000 STEM jobs will be available in the commonwealth by 2026, according to the administration.

Targeted grants of up to $35,000 each are available through the program. In addition to helping schools introduce and expand computer science programming, the targeted grants will provide greater opportunities for students of color, low-income students, and girls to learn critical skills needed to succeed in today’s workforce.

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